Carmel’s owners, Carmel and Tomer, had a vision to introduce and inspire Kiwis with the “REAL Israeli street food experience” and this place truly hits the mark. It was humming with people when we arrived, a queue out the door of eager patrons ready to partake in the delicious and authentic food options. Most people were ordering takeaway and the service was fast! It was loud with vibing music and chatty people happy to be out in the sunshine (hallelujah and amen, Auckland actually had a sunny day!) and we managed to score a few-and-far-between free table right in the thick of it, allowing us to really soak it all up.
Known for their welcoming hospitality and real love of food, it was no surprise that we were treated to some complimentary falafel while we waited – OMG they were epic, such a cool introduction to their hospitality and food and pretty generous … that right there just makes us want to come right back!
The food was full of flavours that really did highlight the joys of Israeli cuisine. From the handmade pitas which were soft and fluffy, to the fresh tzatziki and hummus accompanying the options of crispy chicken, traditional falafel and more, it was all so moreish. We don’t stop at mains either – we Huskies do love a good sweet treat to help us through our Friday arvo so we brought back a selection of their well stocked pastry and baked options – let’s just say they didn’t last very long either!
The shop is only open certain days of the week for lunch, so make sure you check out when they’re open for a fun, fast and tasty treat!
Mel had the falafel pita. She said, “This place had a cool, very busy, hip type of vibe, it is obviously a very popular place that draws in the lunch time crowds. Thankfully the service was super fast – though the staff made the speed of the food delivery look easy, it did feel a bit chaotic at times as there were so many people moving through the place. However this added to the atmosphere and feel of the experience of ‘street food’. My falafel pita was so good, you could tell everything was handmade, the pita bread was just delightful. It’s a fun place to visit.”
Louise had the crunchy chicken challah and drank an americano. She said, “Really enjoy the upbeat vibe, music, action and energy of this place – there is a good reason why the queue is so long! Didn’t realise the challah was a bun as opposed to a pita (which I was hoping for) but this was quickly redeemed by chicken that was both tender and crisped to perfection and the thoroughly delish capsicum tomato relish. Coffee was also a highlight – perfect temperature, chocolatey notes, arrived swiftly and was deeply enjoyable.”
Sam had the crispy chicken challah and drank a mocha. He said, “I definitely got the wrong thing here, the pita looked so much better and easier to eat. I liked the idea of the place, but because we went at midday on a Friday and it was super busy, the people and sounds were overwhelming for me. I need to go back at a less busy time and try the pita option.”